NSMT’s “Beauty & the Beast” A Musical Gem

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The second musical of North Shore Music Theatre’s 62nd season is Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” which first opened on Broadway on April 19, 1994. It closed on July 29, 2007 and ran 5,461 performances. Based on the 1991 animated Disney movie, the show tells the story of a spell cast on a Prince which transforms him into a ferocious beast. He must love and be loved before the last petal falls from the rose or he will be a beast forever.

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Reagle Delivers Terrific “Showboat”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The second show of Reagle Music Theatre’s 49th summer season is the Goodspeed Musicals version of “Showboat” which combined the talents of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. The original version opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 27, 1927 and ran for 572 performances. Kern and Hammerstein felt that the Broadway musical theatre was suffering from a lack of depth and wanted to steer away from the fluffy musical comedies and melodramatic operettas it was accustomed to.

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“Blood on the Snow” a Surefire Hit

 

By Michele Markarian

 

“Blood on the Snow” – Written by Patrick Gabridge.  Directed by Courtney O’Connor.  Presented by The Bostonian Society at the Old State House, 206 Washington Street, Boston, through August 20.

 

Through a side entrance in the Old State House, you make your way up a winding, wooden staircase to be ushered into The Council Chamber. Two sets of chair rows face each other, flanking a long, elegant table. Dr. Nathaniel Sheidley, Executive Director of the Bostonian Society enters – he’s modern day, by the way – and explains to us that the real-life drama that “Blood on the Snow” is based on took place in this very room, the violence having taken place outside the actual window. Wow. This adds a level of authenticity to what we are about to witness that makes this not just a play, but an experience.

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‘Fish Food’ Delivers A Hilarious Take On the Luxury Hotel Biz

 

By Mike Hoban

 

‘Fish Food’ – Written and Directed by Michael O’ Halloran; Presented by Avenue Stage, and performed by Geoffrey Pingree, Desmond O’Halloran, Eunice Simmons, Jennifer Jones, Molly O’Halloran, and Miss Mary Mac. At the Boston Playwrights Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, July 20-23.

 

 Fish Food, a coming of age tale which premiered at the Dot 2 Dot Café in Dorchester before the company heads to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, is a charming little comedy loosely based on playwright Michael O’Halloran’s experiences as a young adult in the hotel industry. Set around 1990, the play gives us O’Halloran’s fictional stand-in, Joe Bacon (portrayed by O’Halloran’s lookalike son Desmond in an appealingly innocent turn), who just turned 21 and is seeking a job at a swank downtown hotel (the ostentatiously named Grand Plaza Court). Owned by shady financier Avery Grand, whose modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to that of the current POTUS (right down to his book, “The Deal is Everything”), the play sends up the boozy, amoral world of luxury hospitality.

 

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In Gloucester Stage’s “The Effect”, Love is the Drug

 

by Mike Hoban

 

‘The Effect’ – Written by Lucy Prebble; Directed by Sam Weisman; Set & Projection Design by J. Michael Griggs; Costume Design by Miranda Kau Giurleo; Lighting Design by Russ Swift; Sound Design by David Remedios; Composer, Claudio Ragazzi; Choreography by Maurice Emmanuel Parent. Presented by the Gloucester Stage Company through July 8

 

Oh Oh, catch that buzz
Love is the drug I’m thinking of
Oh Oh, can’t you see
Love is the drug for me

“Love is the Drug” – 1975 single by Roxy Music

 

Is true love something that can be prescribed?

 

The Effect, now making its New England premiere at Gloucester Stage, asks that question, as Big Pharma guy Dr. Toby Sealey of Rauschen Pharmaceuticals hopes to create “a Viagra for the heart” as clinical trials for the experimental antidepressant with the unsexy name of RLU37 get underway. But as we soon find out, results are not always predictable whenever there’s a human element in the experiment, even in a sterile clinical setting.

 

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“The Music Man” at Theatre by the Sea

 

By Richard Pacheco

 

“The Music Man” is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey and is currently playing at Theatre by the Sea in a spirited, energetic and fun production. The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys’ band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to the naive Iowa townsfolk, promising to train the members of the new band. Harold is no musician, however, and plans to skip town without giving any music lessons. Prim librarian and piano teacher Marian sees through him, but when Harold helps her younger brother overcome his lisp and social awkwardness, Marian begins to fall in love. Harold risks being caught to win her.

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“BAGGAGE” (Newport Playhouse,)

“BAGGAGE”
Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at the Newport Playhouse is the romantic comedy “Baggage” by Sam Bobrick. Two difficult and single people, Bradley and Phyllis, both trying to heal from their respective disappointing relationships, get their luggage mixed up at the airport. After a very disagreeable first encounter, the two decide to help each other get over their heartaches by forcing a friendship that eventually leads to the two discovering that while they may be too difficult for everyone else in the world, but they are perfect for each other. Throw in an analyst who speaks directly to the audience as well as to Bradley and Phyllis and a kooky female friend of Phyllis and you have the ingredients for this very funny comedy.

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ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS (Contemporary Theater Company, Wakefield, RI)

“ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Contemporary Theater’s second comedy of their summer season is “One Man, Two Guvnors” by Richard Bean, an English adaptation of “Servant of Two Masters”, a 1743 Commedia dell’arte style comedy play by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni. The play changes the Italian locale to 1963 Brighton. Francis finds himself picking up a second job to just scrape together enough money to buy himself a pint. But he soon finds out that keeping his two bosses, rivals in the mob scene from finding out about each other is more trouble than he bargained for. The two men are Roscoe Crabbe, a gangster and Stanley Stubbers, an upper class twit. Complicating events Roscoe isn’t really Roscoe, think Shakespeare on this one, and there is a secret lover in this twist in the story. With secrets and lies flying about, Francis tries his best to keep it all under control. Complicating matters even further is local mobster Charlie the Duck, who has arranged his daughter Pauline’s engagement to Roscoe despite her preference for the over the top amateur actor, Alan Dangle. Throw in several letters, a very heavy trunk, several unlucky audience volunteers, an extremely elderly waiter and Francis’ pursuit of his twin passions: Dolly, Charlie’s feminist bookkeeper and, food. Director Sami Avigdor casts these farcical performers wonderfully, gives them a great deal of shtick, pratfalls and facial expressions to keep the audience in stitches all night long.

Leading this 11 member cast is Rico Lanni as Francis. His over the top antics are priceless as he speaks to the audience and other characters while trying to eat constantly in Act 1 and get in a girl’s pants in Act 2 by taking her to Spain. Sarah Reed shines as Rachel and Roscoe playing identical twins that aren’t identical. Her secret motives are hilarious as she hires the dumber than dirt Francis. Also hiring him is Tyler Brown as Stanley who has a terrific temper and has many hilarious moments especially when he thinks his girlfriend is dead and when he and Francis light the crepes on fire.

One of the funniest characters in this show is Jeremy Chaing as the 87 year old, Alfie who has a pace maker and can’t hear very well. His pratfalls, facial expressions and one liners are priceless. When his pacemaker is turned up to nine and puts him into racing around mode received the biggest laugh of the night. Playing Charlie the Duck is Bob Mignarri who tries to force his daughter to marry a gay man against her wishes and can’t understand why a boy and girl can’t be identical twins. Nicholas Fazio does an excellent job as Lloyd,an ex-con who owns a restaurant they go to. Isobel McCullough wins many laughs as the dumb blonde daughter with her clever antics. Terry Simpson plays a legal speaking lawyer while Devon Andrews plays the over acting son. Alynne Miller plays the feminist bookkeeper working for Charlie that is lusted after by Francis. Rounding out the cast is Ezra Jordan as a waiter and cop and Justine Moore as a hapless audience member roped into the lunacy of the show. So for a madcap romp, be sure to catch “One Man, Two Guvnors” at Contemporary Theater Company before time runs out.

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS (14 July to 12 August)

Contemporary Theater Company, 327 Main St, Wakefield, RI

1(401)218-0282 or www.contemporarytheatercompany.com

 

“CALENDAR GIRLS” Renaissance City Theatre Inc, (Westerly, RI)

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity of the Granite Theatre’s fourth show of their 17th season is Tim Firth’s delightful comedy “Calendar Girls” which is the true and “revealing story” of a women’s group in England who decided to drop everything and raise money for a new settee for the hospital waiting room in honor of one’s husband who died of leukemia. It is based on Firth’s “Calendar Girls” movie from 2003.The news of the “alternative calendar” charitable venture spread like wildfire and ultimately raised over a million dollars.

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Delicious Storytelling Dished Up in “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti”

 

By Michele Markarian

 

“I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti.” Adapted by Jacques LaMarre from the memoir by Giulia Melucci. Directed by Ilyse Robbins . Presented by Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, through June 25.

 

“I can count on my breasts the number of times I’ve missed a meal”, Giulia (Kerri Jill Garbis) tells us. For Giulia, food is love, as she demonstrates by actually cooking dinner for eight guests onstage while telling us unfortunate stories from her love life.  If you have an interest in food and a colorful romantic past, this is the show for you.

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